I’ve been a fan of Widow Jane for a few years now, but I recently had the chance to taste a bunch more of their offerings at their distillery in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
It also doubles as the Cacao Prieto chocolate factory, so don’t go assuming that I popped the wrong photo into this post by mistake.
Anyway, we tasted ten different bottles of booze. Five (left) were heirloom whiskies, which I liked a LOT, so I will talk about them first.
The Wapsie Valley bottle had a corn-forward flavor profile that was smooth yet strong. If you like a pure corn bourbon whiskey, then this should be your go-to selection, if not the blue corn version that I will get to later…
Bloody Butcher is a corn varietal that is red in color, and that is the namesake of the next bottle. This had a bit more character in the flavor to me, slightly peppery in fact.
The corn, as you can see below, is a nice vibrant blood red color:
The next two whiskies are “High Rye,” which means that they have a bit more rye in the mash than the previous two. This first one is the rye’d version of the Wapsie Valley from above. I liked this one better, because I think the addition of rye adds more interesting flavors and spices to the booze.
Same goes for the High Rye version of the Bloody Butcher: a much nicer drink. In fact this was one of my favorites of the day.
The last one we tried, and my other favorite, was the Hopi blue corn whiskey, of which I forgot to take a stand-alone photo. While this (and the other heirloom bottles) are pricey for only 375ml ($135-$145), the flavors are intense and rich, and worth the money in my opinion. This blue corn bottle offers some smoke that you might get from an islay single malt scotch, but rounded out nicely with the sweetness of corn. Absolutely amazing.
As it turns out, my wife had a shot of the Hopi bottle so I’m including that here:
For the regular tasting flight, we first started with a pair of rye mash, American oak aged whiskies. This first one was crisp and clean.
The second one here gets hit with some apple wood slats during the last stage of aging, which give it a nice sweetness and refreshing quality in the final taste. You can even smell the apple a bit.
This next bottle is the one you probably see most commonly in liquor stores and bars in the area, and it is the one that I was familiar with before this tasting. The water comes from a limestone mine in New York, and it is aged for ten years in new American oak barrels.
For some additional info on this bottle, I pulled the following from Caskers.com:
“To build a great city, you start with the toughest foundation known. The greatest structures in New York City, from the gargantuan caissons of the Brooklyn Bridge to the 27,000 ton pedestal of the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building itself, are held fast and strong by natural cement made from limestone from quarries located in Rosendale, New York.
The last Rosendale limestone mine closed down in 1970 and its owner, A.J. Snyder, who was as tough as the limestone he quarried, passed away shortly thereafter. His widow, Jane, was beloved in the community for her kindness and pure spirit, and so when Snyder passed, the Rosendale Limestone Mine became known as the Widow Jane Mine.
To make a great whiskey, you start with the finest water available. Following on the heels of the tremendously successful Widow Jane 5 , 7 and 8 Year Old Kentucky Bourbons, Widow Jane 10 Year Old Single Barrel Kentucky Bourbon uses water from the same limestone quarries in Rosendale that were mined tocreate New York’s greatest architectural achievements. The sweet water, along with hand-selected ten-year old Kentucky bourbon, is imported to Brooklyn where Daniel Prieto Preston, inventor, aerospace engineer and founder of Cacao Prieto (a chocolate maker and distillery!), creates Widow Jane Bourbon. Preston brings Widow Jane 10 Year Old Bourbon to proof by hand using water from the Widow Jane Mine and then fills and labels each single-barrel bottle by hand. Bold and complex, the whiskey benefits from its Kentucky heritage, but it’s the smooth, mineral-rich New York water that gives the whiskey its unique flavor profile.
Widow Jane Whiskey is a true New York City whiskey, evocative both of one of mankind’s greatest achievements — New York City’s skyline — and Brooklyn’s artisanal, craft spirits movement. Both urban and urbane, Widow Jane Whiskey is New York’s very own — a signature whiskey of the world’s most magnificent and maddening metropolis.
Each bottle is hand-numbered — pick up one of these rare treasures today.”
Okay, so this next bottle is actually a chocolate flavored rum. This shit was so tasty. I would drink this on the rocks or direct from the freezer, or even mixed / blended with some vanilla ice cream for a boozy dessert.
And for you coffee lovers, this Colombian coffee flavored liqueur was also included in the tasting. I’m not sure if it has any caffeine, but it tasted exactly like espresso, but with a boozy kick.
Get out here for a tasting. I definitely recommend all of the heirloom whiskies. They were all really great.
WIDOW JANE DISTILLERY
214 Conover St
Brooklyn, NY 11231